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Watch this space for up-to-date news of chess events from the Otago region.

Otago/Southland Secondary Interschool Teams Championship 2018 – 16 June

A record fourteen teams from eight schools played for the fourteenth annual Otago/Southland Secondary Interschool Teams' Championship on Saturday 16 June. Three schools made the trip from Invercargill this year: James Hargest College, Southland Boys' High School and Southland Girls' High School taking on the hosts John McGlashan College and regular competitors Otago Boys’ High School, Logan Park High School and Kavanagh College, with Otago Gilrs' High School rejoining the competition after a hiatus.

The OBHS A team defended their title once again, with a very convincing 26/28 over the seven rounds, ensuring first place with a round to spare. The contest for the next few places was was very close, with five teams in contention going intot he final round. Pairing between teams form the same school were barred in the final round, and this condition revealed the shortcomings of the Swissperfect pairing software, when in hindsight some of the last round pairings seemed a little random. Of the five teams, James Hargest A, Logan Park 1 and Kavanagh College were matched with teams in the lower half and scored 4-0 victories, while Southland Boys' HS and OBHS B were paired against each other and drew 2-2. That meant that James Hargest A deservedly finished clear second on 19½ and Logan Park 1 and Kavanagh tied for third place on 18 points. As they were also tied on match points a blitz playoff to decide third was played. Logan Park board 1 Joe McKee had already been involved in two intense and entertaining time scrambles in the main competiton, defeating OBHS A board 1 Max Lough, and losing to OBHS C boad 1 Sam Thompson. The playoff resulted in a 3-1 win to Logan Park. The prize for the best all-girl team went to Southland Girls' HS, who narrowly defeated Otago Girls' HS in their individual match 2½-1½ and outsocred the by half a point overall even after losing two players from the fifth round onward. The top three teams qualify for the South Island finals, while OBHS A and James Hargest A go on to the national finals in Mt Maunganui on 29-30 September.

Leading individual scorers were Board 1: Max Lough (OBHS A) 6/7, Joe McKee (Logan Park 1) 6/7; Dylan Lee (Southland BHS) 5½/7; Board 2: Fred Munn (James Hargest A) 7/7, Ryan Lau (OBHS A) 6/7, Noah Oseki (OBHS B) 5/7, Oscar Lobb (OBHS C) 5/7; Board 3: Ethan Lau (OBHS A) 7/7, Liam Barnes (James Hargest A) 5/7, Paxton Hall (Logan Park 1) 5/7, Shamon Kerr (Southland BHS) 5/7, Alison Latawan (Kavanagh) 5/7; Board 4: Louie Llanos (OBHS A) 7/7, Andre Radel (JMC A) 5/7, Tobias Brennan (Kavanagh) 5/7.

Thank you to John McGlashan College for providing the excellent venue at the Edgar Learning Centre.

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View individual scores

Winter Rapid Open – 9 June

The Winter Rapid Open drew a healthy field of 22, with only six from the Otago Chess club and further nine from the Dunedin Junior Chess Academy. The time control of Bronstein 25 mins plus 5 seconds was used. Top seed was regular visitor Ross Black from Christchurch, but several unrated adult players meant that seedings were likely to be a poor guide. Already in the first round Ian McIntosh upset Hildon Nisa, and Stefan Markx of Queenstown defeated Noah Oseki agains the seedings. In round two top seed Black lost to club President Bob Clarkson, while Markx confirmed his first round result by defeating Shoji Fukushima. Only three players were on full points after the third round: Max Lough defeated second seed Edward Sarfas on top board, while Hamish Gold ended Clarkson's run. Markx joined these two a point ahead of the field with a win over unrated Andrew Wilson. In the fourth round Markx beat Gold to move to 4/4. He was joined by Lough, who defeated Clarkson. That guaranteed one of these two would win the event, as they would meet in the final round. The players on three points were Black, who defeated Nisa, Sarfas who beat Fukushima, and Martin Brook, who beat fellow JMC team member Oscar Lobb. In the final round the top board struggle was evenly disputed before Markx took the advantage and defeated Lough to win the event on 5/5. Lough was joined in second place on 4 points by Brook, who beat Black, and Sarfas who won against Gold. The under 1100 grade was won by Oseki, who won the the last game to finish, when he outlasted Clarkson to finish on 3 points. Lobb beat Fen McIntosh to finish second in the grade on 2½. The under 300 grade was shared by Wilson and Alex Tups on 2½.
The next rapid open is the Spring Rapid on Saturday 1 September.

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Swiss Rapid – 30 May

The Swiss Rapid was won by top seed Quentin Johnson with 6/6, ahead of Edward Sarfas and Hamish Gold tied for second on 4 points. Gold came closest to upsetting the winner, with chnaces to draw their long game. Ryan Lau had a strong event to finish 4th on 3½, losing only to Johnson and Sarfas.

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Shuffle tournament – 9 May

11 players took part in the shuffle chess tournament, which was a five round swiss. Random starting positions and a 5 minutes 3 seconds Bronstein ultimately didn't change much in terms of results, though it lead to some highly interesting games. Top seed Quentin Johnson won on 5 points. Second was shared between Brian Wiliams and Samson Kazarov on 4 points. Final scores: 1 Johnson 5/5; 2-3 Williams & Kazarov 4; 4-5 Edward Sarfas & John Armstrong 3; 6-10 Shoji Fukushima, Ryan Lau, Ryan High, Bob Clarkson & Hildon Nisa 2; 11 Lorne Brooks 1.

University of Otago InterCollege team championship – 6 May

12 teams took part in the third annual University of Otago InterCollege team championship at the School of Surveying. This year the winners were the St Margarets College team of Paddy Cheah and Raymond Siow on 9/10. Abbey College and Caroline Freeman College shared second place on 7 points, while last year's winners, the Locals team were fourth on 6 points.

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Club Championship – 2 May

After the first leg of the 2018 Club Championship, top seed Quentin Johnson leads the A grade on 4½/5 after surviving a strong run by Hamish Gold. Gold is half a point behind having missed numerous wining continuations in his game with Johnson and also drawing with Geoff Aimers, who is next on 3½. Edward Sarfas was next on 2 points, followed by Terry Duffield on 1 and Brent Southgate on 0.

The B grade was convincing won by top seed Shoji Fukushima on an outstanding 4½/5, a point and half clear of John Armstrong, 2nd after a good tournament on 3 points. The fast improving Fukushima earns promotion to the A Grade for the first time, having fought his way up from the C Grade in 2016. New member Brian Williams acquitted himslef well on 2½ points, justifying his placement in B Grade based on rapid and blitz results. Next were David Reid and Max Lough on 2 points, followed by Bob Clarkson on 1 point.

The C grade was a close contest between the top three players. First shared between Hildon Nisa and new member Ryan High, both finishing on 4/6, with Nisa earns promotion to the B Grade. Ryan Lau was third on 3½, just half a point behind. Next was Zohar Gonen on 1, followed by Lorne Brooks on ½ and Liam Gonen on 0.

The rules mean that each grade start with a base score and/or a scaling factor, to allow performances to be roughly compared between grades, based on the average rating of the field in each grade. That allows players in different grades to compete for the same trophy on fair terms. The Championship totals in the link below show the effect of these adjustments.

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View A-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View B-Grade crosstable and rating performances
View C-Grade crosstable and rating performances

Blitz tournament – 21 March

The large turnout of 14 players for the annual Blitz tournament meant that a swiss format was preferred over the usual roundrobin. The five minutes time limit was amenable to new member Brian Williamson, who only lost to top seed Quentin Johnson after falling for a bluff tactic in a drawn position. He won all his other games to finish second on 5/6 a point behind Johnson. Edward Sarfas was third on 4 points, having comeback from an opening round upset loss to another new member Sam Thompson.

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Alan Chang Memorial – 14 March

The Alan Chang 10 minute hourglass tournament as always produced very tough competition for the tournament victory, but as usual the trophy was won by an upset in the first round. Terry Duffield is more used to giving away the biggest upset prize in this event, but a win over Geoff Aimers in round one set a high bar that non-one managed to cross in the remaining rounds. Hamish Gold came closest with his win over top seed Quentin Johnson after opening pressure drew a fatal error and Hamish finished off effectively. This propelled Gold into the sole lead on 3/3, but subsequent losses to Edward Sarfas and Aimers dropped him back into the field. Johnson recovered to win his last two games and win the tournament on 4/5. Aimers cames second on 3½ followed by Gold, Duffield, Sarfas and Max Lough tied for third on 3 points.

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Autumn Rapid Open – 3 March

The 2018 Seasonal Rapids to determine the winner of the Westpac Trophy began with the Otago Autumn Rapid Open. This year the time limit has been changed to 25 mins with a 5 sec delay each move. The turnout of 15 was a good start to the year and included OUSA players Elliot Munro, Jinge Li, Baranbas Radics, Jacob Johnston and Jordy Alsopp, as well as Jared Lau from the DJCA making his debut, in addition to the regulars. Round 1 went with seeding except Shoji Fukushima held Ross Black to a draw. Black also featured in the round 2 upsets when Jinge Li inflicted a full defeat upon him, while Allsopp's estimated rating gave him an upset on paper against Ryan Lau. Elliot Munro showed he was in form by beating Hamish Gold to join top seed Quentin Johnson, Li and Edward Sarfas on 2/2. Round 3 saw a close game on board 1 finally swing Johnson's way as Munro ran low on time. Li continued his strong run, deafeating Sarfas to share the lead on 3/3. The battle for the lead in round 4 was an interesting game in which Li had the advantage against Johnson, but some less accurate pawn moves allowed Johnson to counterattack along the seventh rank and sacrifice the exchange for 2 pawns. Li overstepped the time limit in a tricky postion, though should have had drawing chances in the ending. Munro joined Li on 3 points with a win over Fukushima as did Gold by beating Max Lough and Sarfas with a win over Radics. The final round saw another complex game on board 1, with Johnson blundering a pawn in the opening against Sarfas. The play was complex with both kings exposed, and a second pawn sac by Johnson coordinated his pieces leading to a fatal blunder by Sarfas dropping a piece and the tournament win on 5/5 for Johnson. Munro defeated Li to take second place on 4 points, while Gold drew with Black to finish clear third on 3½. The Under 1500 grade was won by Fukushima on 3 points, after a final round win over Allsopp. The seond place in the grade was split four ways on 2 points by Romero Suggate, Martin Brook, Jordy Allsopp, and Ryan Lau.

The next rapid open is the Winter Rapid on Saturday 9 June.

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2018 Otago chess club AGM – 14 February

Bob Clarkson stayed on a President for another year, as did all the other main officers, except Max Lough replaced Taine Box as Treasurer. Subscriptions remained the same as 2017. The 2018 committee comprises:

President: Bob Clarkson; Vice President: Brent Southgate; Secretary: Leighton Nicholls; Treasurer: Max Lough; Director of Junior Play: Quentin Johnson; Past-President: Geoff Aimers; Committee members: Terry Duffield, Edward Sarfas, Riley Jellyman; Auditor: Bob Glass; Patron: Bob Glass.

Opening Night31 January

The traditional Presidents vs Vice Presidents match took place. With 9 players the play was a match between teams of five players at a time limit of 90 mins no increment. Quentin Johnson played two games sumultaneously for the Vice President's team. The Vice President's team won the match 4½-½.

President

Vice President

Bob Clarkson

½

Brent Southgate

½

Geoff Aimers

0

Quentin Johnson

1

Terry Duffield

0

Edward Sarfas

1

Hildon Nisa

0

David Reid

1

Ryan High

0

Quentin Johnson

1

Total Score

½

Total Score